Agility Exercises for Kids
In their textbook, "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning" (Second Edition), Baechle and Earle define agility as “the ability to explosively brake, change direction and accelerate again.” Athletes in sports such as baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball must be agile to perform successfully. Therefore, since all of these are popular youth sports, kids should work to improve their agility. There are many exercises kids can perform to achieve this goal.
Stand upright with your knees slightly bent and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Begin moving to the left by crossing your right foot in front of your left. Once your right foot lands, step behind your right foot with your left foot. After your left foot lands, step behind your left foot with your right foot. Finally, step in front of your right foot with your left foot. Repeat this procedure until you have moved 10 yards or more. Also perform the exercise moving to the right using the opposite footwork.
Set up the 20-yard shuttle by marking a starting line and lines 5 yards to the right and left of the starting line. Begin by straddling the starting line with your feet. First, sprint to the right and touch the line with your right hand. Then turn to the left and sprint 10 yards to touch the line on the other side of the starting line with your left hand. Finally, turn to the right and sprint 5 yards through the starting line.
Position four cones to make a square with 5-yard edges. Start at the back left cone of the square. Sprint 5 yards to the other cone on the left side of the square. Then shuffle 5 yards to the right to the next cone. Next, backpedal 5 yards to the other cone on the right side of the square. Finally, shuffle 5 yards to the left back to the starting cone. Do not cross or touch your feet while shuffling.
Mark a starting line, 5-yard line and 10-yard line. Begin on the starting line and sprint to the 5-yard line; then backpedal back to the starting line. Next, sprint to the 10-yard line and then backpedal to the starting line. Complete the drill by sprinting to the 5-yard line and then backpedaling through the starting line.
60-Yard Shuttle Sprint
Mark a starting line, 5-yard line, 10-yard line and 15-yard line. First, sprint to the 5-yard line, touch it with either hand, and turn and sprint back to the starting line. Second, touch the starting line with either hand, turn and sprint to the 10-yard line, touch it with either hand, and turn and sprint back to the starting line. Finally, touch the starting line with either hand, turn and sprint to the 15-yard line, touch it with either hand, and turn and sprint through the starting line.
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Second Edition)"; Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle; 2000
- "Training for Speed, Agility and Quickness (Second Edition)"; Lee E. Brown and Vance A. Ferrigno; 2005
Matthew Schirm has worked in the sports-performance field since 1998. He has professional experience as a college baseball coach and weight-training instructor. He earned a Master of Science in human movement from A.T. Still University in 2009.